Cotswold Canals Trust and Stroud District Council are pleased to announce that the Canal & River Trust is backing the bid to reconnect Stroud to the national canal network.
Canal & River Trust trustees have pledged £625,000 to support the restoration of the Cotswold Canal. The assistance will be spread over five years from 2018 if a bid this year to the Heritage Lottery Fund is successful. This is in addition to the support ‘in kind’ that the Trust can also provide.
David Hagg, chief executive of Stroud District Council, comments:
"We’re delighted to receive support from the Canal & River Trust. It’s a real endorsement of all the effort that has gone into restoring the canal. The funds could be an important factor in helping to secure a bid by Cotswold Canals Trust and Stroud District Council to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year which would see nearly £20m overall investment in the waterway. Equally, we look forward to working with the Canal & River Trust’s staff and to making the best possible use of their tremendous knowledge and expertise.
"If the bid is successful, it will fulfil the waterway movement’s long held ambition to connect approximately 11 miles of ‘new’ canal to the wider network as it will connect the six miles of largely restored canal around Stroud, to the Canal & River Trust’s network at Saul Junction on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal."
Jim White, chair of the Cotswold Canals Trust, comments:
"The Canal & River Trust has been supporting the Cotswold Canals for the past few years with management support and professional advice although this has passed largely under-the-radar to the wider waterways movement. Their financial support now is very welcome indeed as we go back to the Heritage Lottery Fund to try and unlock the funds to complete the restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation."
Richard Parry chief executive of the Canal & River Trust comments:
"Cotswold Canal Trust and Stroud District Council have done an amazing job in building support for this project. We are pleased to pledge what funding we can to help unlock the significant HLF funding required. There is no better way of transforming places and enriching lives than restoring an abandoned canal and reconnecting it with its local community, especially when it will also be re-connected to the national waterway network, providing an exciting new destination for boaters to visit."
The decision follows Stroud District Council’s investment of £3m in the project, and Gloucestershire County Council’s recent announcement that it will commit £700,000. If the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is successful, ‘Stroudwater Connected’ would start in 2018/19 with the Canal & River Trust’s contribution of £125k per annum (plus staff time as can be made available) continuing over five years.